What did you feel about the avatar you chose?
I first had the basic “Ruth” avatar. But I need to change my looks and I also needed to look professional, which is not very easy. I had to search for clothing for a couple of hours. I soon bought skin, hair and clothes. Sail has evolved over the last year. I usually wear jeans and t-shirt, which is much like what I wear in real life every day. But now I don’t wear shoes, which some of my students feel is odd. If I can fly, then why do I have to wear shoes.
What was orientation island like? Could you find help as needed? Where did you go? Did you speak to other avatars? What previous knowledge and skills helped you?
I explored Second Life for hours and hours. I quickly looked at a couple of orientation sites. I went to all of the educational sites I could. I went though Torley Lindens’ videos and try to learn as much as I could. I meet many other people, some friends of my mentors. I started going to educational talks and conferences in Second Life. I also went to the NMC Conference at Princeton University.
I am still working on improving orientation in Second Life. My University does not have an island yet, but will soon. I need to improve my students introduction to Second Life. I have created a tutorial, with links to videos. I am also working on videos myself. Besides NMC Orientation Island, I am also sending my students to Kuttara Zen http://slurl.com/secondlife/Kuttara/119/61/21 which is a Japanese garden that will test your skills on moving around. I think this helps getting students to feel more comfortable. I then send them to 4 other sites, and they need to find 5 educational sites. They then create a presentation of all of their experiences in SL.
If they have trouble I go in with them. Since most of the areas we are in are public, I use Skype or iChat to talk to them. I think this helps quite a bit. I also try to get them to find someone in class that has more experience. This is also more fun than going in SL the first times alone.